As a nation which loves the outdoors, South Africans are not terribly put off by winter conditions when it comes to looking for their next home to buy or rent according to the Seeff Property Group.
Samuel Seeff, chairman of the group, says that while there are seasonal trends and sales dip over the winter school holiday season in some areas, there is no overall trend, and each area differs. Some might even see higher sales over winter, depending on what is happening in the market and economy.
Why sell in winter?
There are many compelling reasons for putting your house on the market over winter and just as many reasons why buyers and tenants will be looking over this time, says Seeff.
One advantage might be that there are fewer listings to compete with which makes it easier for buyers and tenants. For some areas such as those where schools are a big selling point, it might be good to get your home onto the market during winter as families with an eye on the next academic year start looking over this period.
It might also be more serious buyers who are not just browsing, but looking purposefully who go house hunting in winter. There is also no evidence that you will have to accept a lower price in winter because price is not determined by the weather, but by market factors.
Bearing in mind that it can take around three months to sell, getting your property on the market over the winter means you could then be ready to move into your new home by the summer and before year end.
What do you need to prepare your property for the winter market?
The objective should always be to ensure buyers and tenants fall in love with the property from the onset by presenting it in the best possible condition.
Get your maintenance and painting done now, especially if you live in the winter rainfall areas such as the Western Cape. Do not neglect the yard which must be clean, trimmed and neat. Ensure bins and any unsightly items are removed. Do not forget to clean and neaten outbuildings and garages as well.
It might be useful to highlight features which make the home cosy in winter such as insulation, seals around doors and windows and specific heating fixtures such as fireplaces. Showcasing sunny areas or a sunroom is another good choice to highlight during winter.
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Are showhouses and viewings a good idea in winter?
Show days and viewings are perfectly fine over the winter, says Seeff. The property should be well staged to attract maximum interest. It must not appear dark or cold as this can be off putting. Take extra care to ensure you showcase the house as equally warming and welcoming in winter.
The property should be sparkling clean and clear of clutter. Air out the home, ensure all curtains and blinds are open and let the sunshine in. While a bowl of coffee beans may be good to absorb unwanted smells, do not spray unnecessarily.
Make sure the fireplace and braai is cleaned so that there is no old fire smell around. If there is a chill in the air, leave a heater on, or better yet, light the fireplace so that buyers and tenants can experience the cosiness.
Place flowers or a bowl of fruit in a prominent area near the entrance. Always ensure there are dry, clean and fresh towels in the bathroom. Pack away toiletries and other clutter in the bathrooms and kitchen.
Winter décor such as blankets or throws draped and a stack of wood next to the fireplace and braai will add to the ambience so that buyers and tenants can see the home is just as liveable in winter as in summer.